With the season only five days old, let’s take a look at 10 players who are playing for new teams and see how their debuts are going for them so far.
Chris Sale, SP — One of the best starters in the game made his much-anticipated debut Wednesday against the Pirates and lived up to the hype. Sale, who was traded to the Red Sox by the White Sox, tossed seven scoreless innings, allowing only three hits and one walk while striking out seven on 104 pitches. Though he did not earn a decision since the Red Sox won 3-0 in 12 innings, Sale is favored by many to win the AL Cy Young award after finishing in the top six in the voting in each of the last five years while being an All-Star in each of those seasons.
Wade Davis, RP — The Cubs’ brand new closer showed he could be their guy that can shut down opponents when it counts after earning a save in their 2-1 win over the Cardinals on Tuesday. Davis, who was dealt to the Cubs from the Royals after spending four seasons in Kansas City and helping the Royals win a World Series in 2015, will look to keep providing stability on the back end of the Cubs’ bullpen as they try to repeat as World Series champions.
Edwin Encarnacion, 1B/DH — The Indians’ biggest free agent acquisition is off to a poor 2-for-12 start at the plate in three games against the Rangers, but provided the big bat that they want in their lineup on Opening Day by hitting a solo home run and scoring two runs while finishing 2-for-5 in their 8-5 win. Encarnacion, who signed a three-year, $60 million deal, has smacked 30 or more home runs in each of his last five seasons with the Blue Jays, including two seasons with 40 or more. And with the Indians having scored 21 runs during their sweep of the Rangers, it’s only a matter of time before Encarnacion heats up for them.
Ian Desmond, 1B/OF — The Rockies’ top free agent signing will not be making his debut until later this month after breaking the second metatarsal in his left hand on March 12, when he was hit by pitch during a spring training game against the Reds. Desmond, who signed a five-year, $70 million contract, was making progress at first before the injury, but will still provide versatility to the Rockies’ lineup when he returns.
Carlos Beltran, OF/DH — After reuniting with the Astros for the first time since 2004, Beltran’s first three games back have not been that great, going 2-for-12 at the plate against the Mariners. The 40-year-old Beltran helped the Astros reach the NLCS in 2004 when they were members of the National League after being acquired by them in a trade with the Royals. Though he is 13 years older than when he last played with Houston, Beltran signed a one-year deal in hopes of winning a championship while also grooming younger talents such as All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve and second baseman Carlos Correa.
Aroldis Chapman, RP — The man who throws the fastest fastball in the majors is back in pinstripes. So far, Chapman has thrown one shutout inning while striking out two in the Yankees’ 5-0 win over the Rays on Tuesday. Chapman returned to the Yankees on a record-deal for a closer (five years, $86 million) after being traded by the Bronx Bombers last July to the Cubs and helping Chicago win the World Series as its closer. Chapman is expected to still be one of the most dominant and intimidating closers in the game despite the Yankees having a young team.
Mark Melancon, RP — For a guy who did have the richest contract of any closer in baseball for 48 hours until Chapman signed his deal, Melancon had the worst debut from this bunch. He blew a save and took the loss in the Giants’ 6-5 defeat to the Diamondbacks on Sunday, allowing two runs on four hits while striking out one and recording just two outs. Melancon, who signed a four-year, $62 million deal, should be able to bounce back and get back to being one of the top closers after recording 98 saves in the last two years while playing for the Pirates and Nationals.
Jean Segura, SS — The Mariners’ new shortstop has had a nice first series with the team. He went 2-fo-4 in a 3-0 loss on Opening Day on Monday, then had a 2-for-6 outing two days later in which he hit a two-run home run in a 5-3 loss. Segura, who was traded to Seattle from Arizona after he recorded a National League-high 203 hits while batting .319 for the Diamondbacks last year, did have an 0-for-5 outing on Tuesday in the second game, but he seems as if he will continue his production from last year while setting the table for the Mariners’ power hitters Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager.
Dexter Fowler, CF — After being a big factor for the Cubs during their World Series run last year, Fowler is now patrolling center for the NL Central rival Cardinals after signing a five-year, $82.5 million deal that includes a full no-trade clause. In two games against for the Cardinals and against his former team, he has gone 2-for-8 with one run scored, one walk and three strikeouts. Fowler provides not only stability in the outfield, but gives the Cards one of the best leadoff hitters in the game.
Adam Eaton, CF — The newly acquired center fielder has made solid contributions to the Nationals in their pair of wins over the Marlins on Monday and Wednesday. He went 1-for-2 with one run scored, two walks and a stolen base in Monday’s 4-2 victory, then went 1-for-3 with two runs scored and one walk in a 6-4 win Wednesday. Eaton, who came to Washington via a trade with the White Sox, will be expected to give the Nationals a nice bat in the lineup to complement one of the best players in the game in Bryce Harper and All-Star Daniel Murphy as they attempt to win a World Series now after losing in the NLDS last year to the Dodgers.